I have had enough and so I am walking to nowhere.
“Relax.” I command, “relax” a bit louder in my brain to cool off the raging bull in me.
“Damn! Keep walking. Don’t hit anyone. Jokes. Laugh it off.”, I repeat to myself. It’s irritating and Thud!
What just happened? It’s blurry now. Am I on the floor? I try to get my spectacles and senses back throwing my hands everywhere on the floor.
“Here”, a voice reaches me as I calm down and put on my spectacles to see a tall guy with blue eyes who now helps me to get back on my feet.
“Thanks”, I almost blurt out as he gasps for breath, “are you….fine”, he gets behind me and still breathing hard whispers, “sorry”.
“Are you the one who ran into me just now?”, I scream. God! There is no end to this bad day. “Are those eye sockets just for display?” I scream louder. Should I hit him. Kick or slap at least?
I am befuddled and I continue to shout incessantly, “Why the hell can’t you see. What on Earth” as he points a finger behind me and in a meek voice tells, “a dog’s behind me”.
I turn and in an instant find myself laughing. Laughing out loud and hard without a care for the braces on my teeth for the first time in the entire day.
He clings to my shoulder at once as the puppy reaches us finally. I can’t stop laughing.
Can you beat that? He is terrified and afraid of a cute puppy.
“Can you please stop laughing now.” he says after nearly 10 minutes. I stifle my laughter. “It’s not funny. Please”. I nod with watery eyes. Look down.
And burst laughing.
“Sorry. I am sorry”. I say more to control myself. The anger had long gone without me noticing.
‘I am just really scared of dogs.”, he says scratching his head trying to not be embarrassed I guess.
“I am Prahishna”, I extend my hand to know the guy who in a weird way successfully made me laugh accomplishing pretty much impossible.
“I am Adi”, he replies.
Few formal thank you, sorry and we part.
Later in the night, while mindlessly counting stars I laugh thinking about him and the entire incident.
Wish college was equally fun. I sigh and get back to my eternal fight with Maths.
Two years pass by and I somehow secure a seat into a decent college for my bachelor’s degree. I hate studies. There’s never an end to it.
College again. I dread but with my braces off the teeth I am not that worried. But who am I kidding. I am shit scared to attend college tomorrow.
“Please don’t make it a worse day. The firsts are important, you see”, I pray to all the gods before sleeping.
I enter the college wanting to make friends and survive the first day.
Formal introduction from everyone. Excited students. Big Dreams. The first day slips away and I am back at home jumping. The Gods must have heard my prayers.
I walk shouldering high hopes sporting a smile into the college premises. I hear some laughs, giggles as I pass by few classmates or seniors. I am not sure.
By lunch, I learn I am the butt of every joke again. So much for the high hopes.
I am angry. Not sure on who exactly and what. But I know I am furious so I decide to eat my lunch alone.
“I am a fan of laughs but not at expense of my friend’s feelings. So, you guys better stop. It isn’t funny anymore.”, I hear a voice right beside my bench row. “Prahi is my friend”, the voice continues.
Amused. I look up.
What? Who? And, Wait! Prahi?
The blue eyes dazzle me again as he sits right next to me with his box. “Want to share?”
“Adi?”, the confused me tries to take in the events.
“You remember me?”, His eyes go wide. “I thought you had forgotten me for good. Actually, I secretly wish you did”, he adds winking and pushing his box ahead.
“Yes”, I reply still reluctant with the overdose of friendliness.
“Prahi?”, I raise my eyebrow and look at him. “And you remember me”.
“Sorry”, he quickly adds. “That’s the name I remember you with and how can I forget the girl who laughed at me for a good whole 10 minutes. Also, I bunked the first day and what a surprise too see you.”
I smile noticing him stealing from my box already.
“Wow. That’s amazing.”, he adds eating my paranthas.
“Friends?”, I extend my hand to my own surprise.
“Will you now even make me sign a contract? Start eating already before I finish it all”, he adds stuffing half the parantha in his mouth saying something similar to may be delicious.
Days pass by making me the miss glasses and him the mr pole, strengthening the bond. We learn that we suck at studies equally. May be he sucks more and studies is equally horrifying.
“Prahi, let’s bunk this one. It’s horrible and I will be long dead before the class finishes”, he says dragging me out of the class.
Do I even have an option?
“But why the hell are we like sitting in a library among thousand books”, I ask to him more surprised than ever.
“What? You? Adi likes reading books?”. I am not being rude to him. How am I to digest this?
He doesn’t even read a line straight when studying together.
“You have five minutes. We are getting out of here.”.
“Five more minutes. Let me decide which one to take”, he pleads.
Those damn puppy eyes. I am not giving in and we walk out of the library after spending 30 minutes.
“For the umpteenth time. I don’t like reading novels.” I say to him.
“No issues. I can always read them to you. Would you still say the same”, he says looking straight into my eyes.
Am I the only one trying to read between lines? Whatever. I nod giving in.
The next weekend I drag him off his bed. “We are going to watch this movie.”
“I don’t like emotional crappy movies”, he half sleep talks as I slap him and run.
“I am going to kill you”, he screams jumping off his bed.
Two hours in the cinema hall and I am gorging on popcorn passing tissue papers to him. Yes. The emotional crappy movie has him in tears.
There are days when I drag him to boring movies and days where he makes me listen to an entire novel. Not that I don’t like it.
He makes me eat spicy food and I make him eat desserts. Yes. We are each other’s subject for all the experiments.
We study together. Fight. Fight for each other pleading for extra attendance at end of semesters. We are inseparable or so I secretly think.
Fourth year comes by. I get a posting in the South while he gets in the North. We know we are lucky to even get jobs.
We congratulate each other with smiles.
“So, college is ending. Will miss all the fun. Great memories we have built.”, we tell each other. Wishing best for each other. Isn’t that what best friends are for?
Yes. The rollercoaster ride indicates that it’s time to get going downwards.
We promise each other to stay in touch daily.
But I know I am a friend. His best friend. That’s what I cherish and love. He is my best friend. Then, why is my heart so heavy?
He is a charming writer I learn and a non reader like me starts to read his lengthy emails again and again.
But there’s not much to write. Life is back to usual. Boring.
Work takes over and snarls me in and I let it. I reduce the emails exchange. He is a friend. Best friend Prahi, I remind myself.
Years pass by and father calls me up. I know I can’t postpone it any longer so I say yes this time.
I don’t tell him. I don’t know the reason myself but I can’t bring myself to tell him. I trash the half written email and head to my hometown.
Within a span of few days, the celebrations are all around. Everyone is happy. Mom brims up with tears saying how beautiful her daughter looks. I smile. It’s the engagement day. I am to look pretty. May be I do look pretty today.
I start walking down the stairs in the prettiest dress. Don’t fall. Don’t fall off I keep yapping to myself. I am not sure if I am nervous. I descend the stairs.
“Can I talk to you for a minute?”
The familiar voice hits me. My heart is beating faster. I don’t want to look up.
No. Not now. Not at this time. Please I almost pray to revert this. It might become impossible for me.
I should look up. I know. What’s wrong with me. I look up as I see my father approaching us.
“People are waiting”, I say half looking at my father.
“I want a minute. Now. That’s all.”
“What’s the matter?”, my father asks as my mother nudges me to walk further.
People are looking at us. I can feel all eyes glaring at us.
I start walking still not looking into his eyes.
“Miss glasses.” his voice is deep, heavy, and dampened. “You will have to give me a minute. Now.”
“How could you not even tell me about your engagement?”
I knew he would say this. What else would he say. No. I don’t want to face this. I don’t have an answer.
I keep walking.
“A minute for all the time we have spent together. For our friendship.”
I turn still not looking at him directly signalling we will talk later.
I don’t want a scene Adi. Get it. I don’t have an answer. I know you are hurt. You should have been the first person to be informed. But. Please stay put now. I pray under my breath and turn away from him.
“A minute because.. because I love you”
I am transfixed. My heart has never thumped the way it is thumping now. Warm tears are rolling down my cheek. I am breathing hard gripping my dress with all my might to hold hard to the reality.
I hear my father yelling but I can’t comprehend it. There’s lot of noise but I am here just standing. Taking in the words.
My father is now saying something about getting him out. Saying my mom that he had warned her to keep him away.
I turn with tears and my father stops in his tracks. It must have been a very long while since he had seen his strong daughter cry.
I conjure up strength. I mumble. Speak louder.
“How can a charming guy like you with blue eyes fall in love with a girl like me. Aren’t we just friends? I never felt anything more ever from you.”, I say in a very meek voice. The strongest I can muster to speak out.
“How can a guy like me fall in love with you? How, you ask?”
“Because you are the most beautiful women I have ever met. Because your laughter captivates me litting up my world. It has done so right from the moment we met. Because I love reading novels to you that you listen so dearly with your eyes closed being the loveliest. Because you never stand for yourself but force me to hold you back from hitting someone for me. Because you play guitar beautifully in the evenings losing yourself. Because you wear a beatific smile on your face while talking to stars and moon every night. Because your short curly hair and spectacles have kept me up for umpteen nights. Because no one else can tolerate my spicy food experiments. Because you haven’t ever judged me for my weaknesses. Because you know me. Because I have always been in love with you miss glasses. Because we are inseparable.”
He takes a breath and continues.
“I couldn’t muster up strength to say this before because I never got anything more from you. But, today, I couldn’t let you be engaged without telling you this. I need an answer. Yes. I love you. And, you owe me an answer Miss glasses.”
I am running. Unaware of the crowd. People mumbling around. I run straight to him. Jumping onto him hugging him tight so as to hold on to the dream before it ends.
“You were so idiotic not to know how beautiful you are miss glasses. And, that was going to cost us our love and life both”, he said hugging me back.
“So, you do love me, right”, he asks.
I hold onto him. Just hold tighter knowing this is what I am never letting go off in my life. I just hold onto him.
Society. People around can be so judgmental sometimes that they will teach you that you can’t fly even before you realise you have wings. No. Caste and status aren’t the only ones you will face. You will be judged on your skin color, appearance, amount of fat you carry, and what not. So much, that you will almost believe it. Live that lie for your whole life until someone will someday tell you otherwise. Will make you realise how truly beautiful you are. And, that day, make no mistake, will be the day you will realise you were always beautiful and you will always be. You don’t have to wish to be a princess out of fairy tale. You just have to love yourself for who you are.
At least Adi has successfully taught me this with his unconditional and boundless love.
(P.S. Fairy tales, happy endings. Though, i love it. Am not really good at it and ain’t a big fan that way because this isn’t my usual. Hope I did’t bore you to death if you are reading this 🙂 Firsts matter and so this blog had to start off with a happy ever fiction!! Feedback appreciated.
Back to writing. )